The 134th session of the China Import and Export Fair, or Canton Fair, opens in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, on Sunday. The autumn edition of the biannual event will be held in three phases in Guangzhou and will run through Nov 4. (ZOU WEI/FOR CHINA DAILY)
Multinational companies see China as strategically important for operations
Heads of several multinational companies have said that they will continue to invest in China due to the country's strategic importance in their global operations as Vice-Minister of Commerce Wang Shouwen reiterated that the Chinese government accords high attention to foreign-invested enterprises.
Speaking at a seminar on foreign trade in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, Wang said on Sunday that the position of the Chinese government on expanding opening-up and attracting foreign investment remains unchanged, with the commitment to further increasing market access, protecting the property rights of foreign-invested enterprises and creating a sound business environment.
The seminar coincided with the 134th session of the China Import and Export Fair, or Canton Fair, which opened in Guangzhou on Sunday.
Foreign-invested enterprises play an important role in the development of China's foreign trade. The country will provide them with more opportunities in their effort to explore the Chinese market and expand foreign trade, with multiple comprehensive advantages including the vast market, well-established supply chain and clustered talent and technology, Wang added.
Speaking on the sidelines of the fair, Zhao Bingdi, president of Panasonic Corp China, said that Panasonic is committed to its development in China and has made new investments in 14 bases since 2020.
Nearly 30 percent of Panasonic's business in China is export-oriented, Zhao said, adding that China has a comprehensive industrial chain and that its advantage in R&D and innovation has become increasingly prominent in recent years.
Panasonic hopes to further strengthen its R&D in China and anticipates greater development in the country, he said.
Zhao's views were echoed by delegates attending the 35th International Business Leaders' Advisory Council for the Mayor of Shanghai on Sunday.
Stefan Paul, CEO of global logistics giant Kuehne Nagel International AG, said the company's commitment to China remains "resolute", which is evident in its most recent investments in two facilities that became operational in Chengdu, Sichuan province, in May.
The facilities, built for animal healthcare firm Elanco, comprise a 3,000-square-meter manufacturing warehouse and a 12,000-square-meter distribution center for finished products.
"China has evolved into a leader in several transformative industries, including new mobility and renewable energy, presenting compelling opportunities for us to collaborate with industry leaders and export their technology and products worldwide. To facilitate this, we will continue investing in our people, technology and expertise within China, focusing on Shanghai," said Paul, who is attending the event in Shanghai in person for the first time.
Apart from its regional headquarters and three trading companies in Shanghai, United States agriculture and food company Cargill has built an innovation center, a shared service center, an oil seed crushing plant, three feed mills and a food technology company in the Yangtze River Delta region. According to Cargill's executive chair of the board David MacLennan, each of these investments required confidence in the region's industrial ecosystem and continued access to regional and global supply chains.
"China occupies a prominent position in Cargill's global strategy. Cargill needs Shanghai to function as a highly efficient and rule-based hub connecting China to the world," he said.
On top of that, multinational corporations in China depend on efficient industrial capabilities and reliable infrastructure, he added.
Miguel Angel Lopez Borrego, CEO of German industrial giant Thyssenkrupp AG, said that China's huge market and strong global impact inevitably influence multinational companies' decisions on industrial chain layout.
"China has comprehensive upstream and downstream resources, a substantial pool of technological talent, an extremely powerful industrial chain and a resilient and flexible supply chain," he said.
According to the Shanghai municipal government, 940 multinational companies had set up their regional headquarters in the city as of the end of the third quarter, of which 49 were ventures launched this year. The number of foreign-funded regional R&D centers stands at 551.